Wonderful Whatcom

Of water and poetry

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

It’s winter in Whatcom County, cold and dark, and a perfect time for curling up in front of the fire to daydream and read. Make plans for getting kayaks out in a few months, clamming and crabbing, or just being outside enjoying our spectacular shoreline.

Two recent books celebrate Whatcom County, one telling the life story of the Salish Sea and the creatures that inhabit it, and the other stories of 101 of its human inhabitants, lyrically told in the locally published collection of poems titled Noisy Water.

The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest is a publishing collaboration between Cloud Ridge Naturalists and the SeaDoc Society, a science-based marine conservation program located on Orcas Island. Know someone who is new to Whatcom County? The Salish Sea provides a great overview of our animal cohabitants and a solid understanding of the dynamics of this ecosystem, and is full of fascinating facts.

Who are the deepest divers in this sea? Northern elephant seals can dive to a depth of 5,692.3 feet (yes, that is more than a mile)! Salish Sea fish species are known for their longevity—rougheye rockfish can live to be more than 200 years old, which would mean they might have been born when James Madison was president.

Urban whales who share coastal waters with noisy ships have adapted to the increased volume much the way humans do—they talk louder, holding syllables longer and increasing the amplitude of their vocalizations.

With every page studded with stunning photographs, this book is perfect for simply curling up and looking at the pictures. Bonus that the informative text by Audrey DeLella Benedict is parsed out in easy-to-ingest sections, science made interesting and relevant. Zoology, botany, past and present geology, anthropology, and issues related to the region’s economy are covered, with the emphasis always on species interdependency and teaching about the importance of keeping this ecosystem healthy for all its inhabitants.

The title of the poetry anthology, Noisy Water: Poetry from Whatcom County, Washington, is derived from the translation of the Lummi word Xwot’qom, from which “Whatcom” is derived, loosely translated as “noisy water.”

Although poets were not asked to submit poetry on a specific theme, there is a natural tendency in each of these poems to lean toward woods, water, rock, trees—the elements that are so much part of our existence here in Whatcom County.

The 101 poets were invited to submit poems based either on their publishing accomplishments or for their presence and involvement in the local poetry community. The editors of the collection, local poets Luther Allen and J.I. Kleinberg, hope the book will represent the strong and growing poetry community in the county.

With one poem by each poet, the many styles and voices make it another fun armchair read, and chances are you will recognize a name or two.

As the Collection Support Manager for Whatcom County Library System, Lisa Gresham enjoys selecting materials like these to support reading for pleasure and learning.

West Coast
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The Immortalists
A date with death

It’s halfway through a humid summer in 1969 on New York City’s Lower East Side, and the four Gold siblings are restless. There is no air-conditioning in the house, and life seems to be happening to everyone else but them. Kids are getting wasted at Woodstock, there is rioting outside the…

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Quiet Wisdom
The Turtle of Oman

When news headlines emphasize violence and strife, it can be comforting to engross oneself in a “gentle read,” and Naomi Shihab Nye’s delightful novel The Turtle of Oman fills the bill.

Although intended for a grade-school audience, it’s appropriate for adult readers, too,…

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Love and Loss
Fighting for trans equality

Things are never as bad as they seem.

A brighter spot can always be found if you just look for it and there’s always something to be thankful for—a way of making yourself feel better because things aren’t as they seem.

And in the case of Sarah McBride’s new book, Tomorrow Will Be…

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Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

World Water Day Beach Cleanup

12:00pm|Locust Beach

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Toward Zero Waste Workshop

1:30pm|Kombucha Town's Culture Cafe

Happy Hour Thursdays

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Trivia Thursday

5:30pm|Trove Coffee

Jazz Jam

5:30pm|Illuminati Brewing

Jazz Jam

5:30pm|Illuminati Brewing

Pub Run

6:00pm|BBay Running


6:00pm|Ciao Thyme Commons

South Fork Exploration

6:30pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Fitness Forum

7:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Crown Jewel Wilderness

7:00pm|Village Books

Havilah Rand House Concert

7:30pm|Chuckanut Center

Trove Web
Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Women's Conference Registration Deadline

9:00am|Bellwether Ballroom

Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

Coffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Fourth Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Bingo Night

6:00pm|The Majestic

From Auschwitz to America

7:00pm|Village Books

The Book of Moron

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Adventures and Brawls

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

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Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

The Book of Moron

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Adventures and Brawls

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Hall

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Squalicum Creek Park

Native Plant Sale & Expo

9:00am|Whatcom Community College

Whatcom County Democrats Convention

10:00am|Bellingham High School

Rock & Gem Club Show

10:00am|Bloedel Donovan Community Center

Starting Your Vegetable Garden

10:00am|Blaine Library

March for Our Lives

10:00am|Bellingham City Hall

Walk for Water

10:00am|Fairhaven Village Green

Tax Help Available

12:30pm| First Congregational Church


1:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Spring Show Opening Reception

2:00pm|River Gallery

Native Plants & Birds

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

A Conversation with Alan Friedlob

3:00pm|Deming Library

The Passage Home to Meuse

4:00pm|Lynden Village Books

Memory's Blade

7:00pm|Village Books

Contra Dance

7:00pm| Fairhaven Library

Shantala and Friends

7:00pm|Presence Studio

Ballroom Dance

7:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

see our complete calendar »

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